Friday, December 2, 2016

Bucklin Old Hill Ranch Sonoma Valley Zinfandel, 2006

You may have heard of Ravenswood's Old Hill Vineyard Zinfandel; it sells for about $40 a bottle. Bucklin's Old Hill Ranch Zin is not as well known but only slightly less expensive when it first hits the market. I bought this one three or four years ago for about $12 from Village Corner in Ann Arbor, probably thanks to a distributor close out. It was a great opportunity to try a wine from one of the country's oldest vineyards, first planted in the 1880s. Although the label says "Zinfandel" because Zin is the primary grape, this is actually a field blend that includes Grenache, Alicante Bouschet, Petite Sirah, Mourvedre, Syrah, Carignane, Temperanillo, Tannat, Grand Noir and few other varietals. You name it, this wine has it. And it's a unique experience.

Very deep and dark. Looks like a big wine and it is: 15.3% alcohol but it's not at all sweet, jammy or hot as many high-alcohol wines are. Zinfandel-like boysenberry is prominent but, oh, so much more--carignane spice and earth, Grenache berry, Syrah pepper, Mourvedre violets, etc., etc. All blended together nicely. On the palate, dark cherry takes over, rich and warm. Medium long finish. This is the best bottle I have had from a half case. One more to go; I may keep it another year or two just to see what happens.

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